It’s not a new story being told here. It’s the story of perpetual deceit and fraud with one of the planet’s most valiant, noble and faithful race, by their fellow countrymen. It is the story of the defrauded, demonized, radicalised, marginalized, militarized and colonized Pashtun people by their brethren in the name of national interest and the hope of a better future in Quaid’s and Iqbal’s Pakistan.
The story begins in 1948 with the military conscripting Pashtuns to infiltrate the disputed state of Kashmir. They did the job well despite the fact that the rifles given to them were replaced with substandard local manufactured weapons (the original being siphoned off and sold in black market by officers of various institutions). As a result of their victory a large part of Kashmir and Gilgit-Biltistan was annexed to the state of Pakistan.
That historic episode provided Pakistani policy makers with a strategy for exploiting the Pashtun people for war and military purposes at the least possible cost of life and gold to the state and the dominant majority. From 1948 onwards, the state’s focus shifted from the Pashtun to the Bengali people who had a more mature political outlook and had experience in democratic statecraft. The dominant majority could sense that sooner or later the Bengali people of East Pakistan would be vying for democratic power play and in order to curb that possibility, One Unit formula was concocted and implemented by military regimes that took control of the state in 1955 and left the steering only when Bengal was lost in a military and political defeat to the dominant majority.
Immediately after the defeat and surrender leading to cessation of East Pakistan, the dominant majority had to suppress the rising dissatisfaction of the Baluch and Pashtun people through realpolitik and military means. Military operations and administrative maneuverings were carried out in Baluchistan and NWFP. Bhutto being an able leader missed out on his chance to strengthen participation by federating units and toppled the provincial government to play his own game in the Pashtun land. He failed in quelling reservations of extreme religious outfits and had to lose not only his go at the rudder but his life as well.
Then came the time when the whole world focused on the Pashtun in the hope that they would rescue Western civilization from the Communist threat. The narrative of Soviet Union seeking warm waters and Gulf Oil was concocted to make the Pashtun go all out against the Russians. They did and along with a plethora of state and non state actors made the defeat of Russians in Afghanistan possible!
They expected to be treated as the ultimate patriots and to be given a chance to improve their lot after the historic victory. The dominant majority and their representatives in the corridors of power, however, thought otherwise. They engaged Pakistani Pashtun in beating up an already prostrate state of Afghanistan in the hope of creating some kind of depth where the psuedo strategists of Pakistan could experiment with the rise of Islam so as to ultimately defeat or rather decimate the Western civilization (in actual fact they were siphoning off petro- dollars from the cyclops of Middle East). The most ironic event after the fall of Soviet Union was the totally unexpected military infiltration of Middle East by United States forces. Pakistani psuedo strategists who claimed that communists were after the Gulf oil, had based their reading on Russia seeking warm waters theory, were rendered complete idiots by the American move into the Gulf. However, instead of rectifying the bearing and ballast of the state they kept on playing double and triple hands with Arabs, Americans and the Pakistani people till 2001, within the safe perimeters of their beloved strategic depth. The nincompoops hadn’t learnt a thing from Desert Storm. They thought they could bilk the Arabs, hoodwink Americans and keep Pakistani civil society drugged with the stories of Islamic bomb, Ghazwae Hind, rise of Islam and some such non sense forever and ever – kindly note that the real purpose was theft of national resources, petrodollars and American aid.
Then came the big day and the valiant American army landed in Afghanistan. What should have been the condition of Pakistani Afghan policy makers at that time is not difficult for the wise to understand. They must have forsaken all honors to have stayed in their shameless skins! The greatest commando in world history somersaulted in one telephone call and twenty years of shit-pooling was taken up as the new job to clean up. Bravo!
Then came the latest episode, what if we’ve failed in Middle East and Afghanistan, we can still play some more in KPK. The stake this time was to stop the flow of reconstruction money to the Pashtun areas adjacent to Afghanistan and to stop all intermingling of Pashtun across Durand line. For this new propose another false narrative has been created. Pashtun leaders have been hooked under the threat of NAB and ouster from governance in KP and Baluchistan. They have simply shut up and the Pashtun people are being subjected to a newer more severe marginalization whether it’s in the distribution of national resources, or the Chinese Economic Corridor or Afghan trade. Pashtun is not counted anyhere. The military is beating up rural communities in KP and FATA and flushing millions out while allowing terrorist outfits safe heavens in the centre of the country.
What is not comprehensible is that why should Pashtun and Baluch be beaten up and scapegoated for the failures of milltary and political elite of dominant majority. Do they want to eradicate Pakistan altogether this time around or what? It will be a classic Sheikh Chilli cutting the branch on which he sits atop the tree. Let them do it, and have the taste of the ultimate failure as well if that’s what they are after!
By Jack Frost, Editor-in-Chief
He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
THE PASHTUN TIMES